Contemporary articles citing Uzzi B (1996) Am Sociol Rev
market, explain, economic, increasing, change, studies, network, strategic, literature, structure
- Chang, Kuang-chi. 2011. "A Path to Understanding Guanxi in China's Transitional Economy: Variations on Network Behavior*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 315-339.
- Current research on guanxi (Chinese social connections) suffers from conceptual confusion. This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding guanxi in the face of China's economic and social transformations. Guanxi is viewed as a purposive network behavior that can take different strategic forms, such as accessing, bridging, and embedding. Pairing this conceptualization with a social-evolutionary framework, I argue that the emergence and increasing or decreasing prevalence of each form over time result from (1) a combination of factors at three analytical levelsmicroagency, mesonetwork, and macroinstitutionaland (2) endogenous processes of selection. By focusing on behavioral forms and their evolution, this framework is able to bridge divides in the guanxi literature, provide a foundation for comparative studies of network behavior across societies, and connect the study of guanxi with economic sociology more broadly.
- Schrank, Andrew & Josh Whitford. 2011. "The Anatomy of Network Failure." Sociological Theory. 29:3 151-177.
- This article develops and defends a theory of ``network failure'' analogous to more familiar theories of organizational and market failure already prevalent in the literature on economic governance. It theorizes those failures not as the simple absence of network governance, but rather as a situation in which transactional conditions for network desirability obtain but network governance is impeded either by ignorance or opportunism, or by a combination of the two. It depicts network failures as continuous rather than discrete outcomes, shows that they have more than one cause, and pays particular attention to two undertheorized-if not undiscovered-types of network failure (i.e., involution and contested collaboration). It thereby contributes to the development of sociology's toolkit for theorizing networks that are ``neither market nor hierarchy.''
- Fligstein, Neil & Doug McAdam. 2011. "Toward a General Theory of Strategic Action Fields." Sociological Theory. 29:1 1-26.
- In recent years there has been an outpouring of work at the intersection of social movement studies and organizational theory. While we are generally in sympathy with this work, we think it implies a far more radical rethinking of structure and agency in modern society than has been realized to date. In this article, we offer a brief sketch of a general theory of strategic action fields (SAFs). We begin with a discussion of the main elements of the theory, describe the broader environment in which any SAF is embedded, consider the dynamics of stability and change in SAFs, and end with a respectful critique of other contemporary perspectives on social structure and agency.
- Molm, Linda, David Schaefer & Jessica Collett. 2009. "Fragile and Resilient Trust: Risk and Uncertainty in Negotiated and Reciprocal Exchange." Sociological Theory. 27:1 1-32.
- Both experimental and ethnographic studies show that reciprocal exchanges (in which actors unilaterally provide benefits to each other without formal agreements) produce stronger trust than negotiated exchanges secured by binding agreements. We develop the theoretical role of risk and uncertainty as causal mechanisms that potentially explain these results, and then test their effects in two laboratory experiments that vary risk and uncertainty within negotiated and reciprocal forms of exchange. We increase risk in negotiated exchanges by making agreements nonbinding and decrease uncertainty in reciprocal exchanges by having actors communicate their intentions. Our findings support three main theoretical conclusions. (1) Increasing risk in negotiated exchange produces levels of trust comparable to those in reciprocal exchange only if the partner's trustworthiness is near-absolute. (2) Decreasing uncertainty in reciprocal exchange either increases or decreases trust, depending on network structure. (3) Even when reciprocal and negotiated exchanges produce comparable levels of trust, their trust differs in kind, with reciprocal exchange partners developing trust that is more resilient and affect-based.
- Vallas, SP. 1999. "Rethinking Post-fordism: the Meaning of Workplace Flexibility." Sociological Theory. 17:1 68-101.
- Social scientists increasingly claim that work structures based on the mass production or ``Fordist'' paradigm have grown obsolete, giving way to a more flexible, ``post-Fordist'' structure of work. these claims have been much disputed, however, giving rise to a sharply polarized debate over the outcome of workplace restructuring. I seek to reorient the debate by subjecting the post-Fordist approach to theoretical and empirical critique. Several theoretical weaknesses internal to the post-Fordist approach are identified, including its uncertain handling of ``power'' and ``efficiency'' as factors that shape work organizations; its failure to acknowledge multiple responses to the crisis of Fordism, several of,which seem at odds with the post-Fordist paradigm; and its tendency to neglect the resurgence of economic dualism and disparity within organizations and industries. Review of the empirical literature suggests that, despite scattered support for the post-Fordist approach, important anomalies exist (such as the growing authority of ``mental'' over manual labor) that post-Fordism seems powerless to explain. In spite of its ample contributions, post-Fordist theory provides a seriously distorted guide to the nature of workplace change in the United States. Two alternative perspectives toward the restructuring of work organizations are sketched-neoinstitutionalist and ``flexible accumulation'' models-which seem likely to inspire more fruitful lines of research bn the disparate patterns currently unfolding within American work organizations.
- Krippner, GR. 2001. "The Elusive Market: Embeddedness and the Paradigm of Economic Sociology." Theory and Society. 30:6 775-810.
- Steiner, Philippe. 2009. "Who Is Right About the Modern Economy: Polanyi, Zelizer, or Both?." Theory and Society. 38:1 97-110.
- Zelizer's work may be read as an attack on the central Polanyian thesis: that the market system threatens social life by the undue prominence it lends the economy in the organization of modern society. The recent publication of Viviana Zelizer's The Purchase of Intimacy (2005a) is therefore an excellent opportunity to review the general trend of her work Zelizer 1979, 1985, 1994, and contrast her leading ideas to the central thesis that gives Polanyi's work its particular flavor: the danger encapsulated in the use of modern money and the functioning of the market system.
- Wang, Junmin. 2009. "Global-market Building as State Building: China's Entry Into the Wto and Market Reforms of China's Tobacco Industry." Theory and Society. 38:2 165-194.
- This article analyzes how China's increasing engagement in the global market induced significant institution-building in China's tobacco industry and enabled a power shift from the local authorities to the central authority in controlling this market. During this process of ``getting onto the international track,'' the central government reorganized the industrial tobacco systemand broke up the ``monopolies'' set up by local governments in order to enhance the competitive capacities of China's tobacco industry in the global market. Given such a concrete institutional change in China's tobacco industry, I propose the theory of `` global-market building as state building'' to explain the interactions among the global market, the nation-states, and the domestic market-building projects. I suggest that nation-states strategically seek to engage themselves in the global market and that, under certain circumstances by taking advantage of their global market engagement, the nation-states can enhance their abilities to govern the domestic market.
- Owen-Smith, Jason. 2011. "The Institutionalization of Expertise in University Licensing." Theory and Society. 40:1 63-94.
- This article draws on ethnographic data from a field leading university licensing office to document and explain a key step in the process of institutionalization, the abstraction of standardized rules and procedures from idiosyncratic efforts to collectively resolve pressing problems. I present and analyze cases where solutions to complicated quandaries become abstract bits of professional knowledge and demonstrate that in some circumstances institutionalized practices can contribute to the flexibility of expert reasoning and decision-making. In this setting, expertise is rationalized in response to institutional tensions between academic and business approaches to deal making and professional tensions between relational and legal approaches to negotiation. Abstraction and formalization contribute both to the convergence and stability of routines and to their improvisational use in professional work. Close attention to these processes in a strategic research setting sheds new light on an interesting tension in sociological theories of the professions while contributing to the development of a micro-level, social constructivist institutional theory.